1967-2017: Bears are still State Champions
In 1967 the Brownsboro Bears won the State Basketball Championship. When the playoffs start this coming week, it will be the 50th anniversary for this spectacular memory. Friday night, the championship team was honored with a reception and a halftime recognition, to commemorate their accomplishment. Delmon Parmer, senior guard for the ’67 team said, “Everybody worked and got along so well together. Nobody hogged the ball, we just did what the coach said and tried as hard as we could.”
During the 1967 championship run, the Bears, who finished with a 35-2 record, defeated Pewitt (Naples) 93-49, Lexington 68-42, and West Sabine 73-69, to make the state tournament. Marshall Crawford led the Bears, averaging over 30 points per game for the season. “I think it is a good honor that they brought us together. Three of our guys are deceased, but still had representation here,” stated Crawford. He added, “I think our team did real good.”
The Bears defeated Lorenzo 79-57, in the semifinals, and Archer City 68-59, in the final, to become the State Champs. Leading the charge was the high scoring Crawford and Jesse Williams, a rebounding giant. They both made the all-tournament team, with Crawford eventually garnering All-State and MVP for East Texas honors. Parmer, Lyndon Sowells, and Glynn Lewis were also instrumental, and had some of their best games at the state tourney.
The Bears dominated their opponents in both games at the state tournament. In fact, they set two individual records that have stood for many years. Crawford made 12 free throws in one of the games, and Williams gathered in 30 rebounds in another. “You have heard the saying, ‘Just let those guys play.’ Well I just put our guys out on the court and they took care of business,” said Coach Fowler Jones. Many of the players disputed that assessment. They couldn’t say enough good words on the impact Coach Jones had on their team and lives. Senior guard Curtis Corley (who guided LaPoyner to State Championship status) emphasized, “Coach Jones was respected as a coach that would not humiliate or embarrass a player, and had their respect.” The players wanted to emphasize that Coach Jones could be tough on them when it was needed, but that is one of the qualities of good coaches.
The 1967 Bear players were:
Seniors: Crawford, Corley, Stanley Gideon, Lewis, Charles Mathis, and Delmon Parmer.
Juniors: Billy Hudnall, Sammy Jackson, James Lewis, Sowells, and Jesse Williams.
Coaching the State Champs was Fowler Jones of East Texas State University. They were excited to be recognized as a group of former Bears. They took great delight in watching the present day Bears win district for the 3rd straight year, defeating arch rival, the Van Vandals 72-57. The only downer for the whole evening was the fact that the only team members not able to attend were the three players that are deceased. However, Billy Hudnall, James Lewis, and Jesse Williams were well represented by family and friends.
Some of the great stories of their championship season were relived, with laughter and pride mixed in. They talked about the Edgewood game, where they scored 110 points, with Crawford getting 60 points himself. As far as can be determined, still a school record. Some of the players talked about how the goals were not the same height on both ends. They said some of the players could dunk on any goal, but some could at this gym on one end, but couldn’t on the other end. Also, in the dressing room snow was coming in through the cracks in the wall.
The legacy for this team is the type of men they have become in just 50 short years. The group includes coaches, Vietnam veterans, self-employed businessmen, Kelly- Springfield employees, politicians, and a doctor among other experiences. However, these men have become valued community members, good family men, and true friends.
Thanks for a job well done by the ’67 team, but there are more thanks to the people who organized this celebration. Thanks to Athletic Director Jason Hooker and basketball coaches Brent Smith and Fred Griffin for their efforts. Also, athletic secretary Tami Hooker, who organized the reception, sent out the team invitations, provided the special mementos for the team, and directed the halftime festivities. The media coverage from the local newspapers, television stations, and great pictures from Chad Wilson and Travis Tapley were appreciated. The members of the ’67 team would like to thank everyone for their efforts and being able to see so many friends, classmates, and fans, who are in their hearts now and forever. Dr. Mathis expressed, “This meant so much to myself and my teammates. Thanks so much for everything y’all have done.”
I feel the current Bear coach, Brent Smith, put it best. As he told his squad on a night they were going for the clincher to win district, “This night will be remembered. We are recognizing the 50th anniversary of the 1967 state championship team. Members of that team will be watching you and it can be a really special night if we play our best.” Coach, it was a special night for the 1967 and 2017 teams. Good luck and congratulations to both groups.
GOD BLESS & HUMMMM BLUUUUUE!